NCAAB Rivalries: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Duke Blue Devils

The NCAAB is the college-level basketball league, which is enjoyed by a great many people who want to enjoy basketball outside of the NBA, and those who enjoy the NCAA basketball odds for an extra bit of sports betting fun.  

In the NCAAB, you still get rivalries as you do with the NBA, which makes betting action even more fun and allows bettors to enjoy some action all year round. One of the many rivalries in the NCAAB is the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils.  

Of all the NCAAB rivalries there are, this may not necessarily be the most dramatic, but it certainly is one of the oldest of all the rivalries. So, let’s take a look at what we know about the Tar Heels versus Blue Devils' rivalry.  

The Rivalry 

The Carolina and Duke rivalry is a reference to the sports rivalry that stands between two college basketball teams, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke University Blue Devils.  

This is considered to be a very intense rivalry, perhaps one of the most in all sports in the United States according to a poll which was conducted in 2000 by ESPN. This poll stated by this rivalry was the 3rd greatest in all North American sports.  

The rivalry's intensity is due to a variety of reasons, one of which is thanks to the proximity of these two Universities, which are only located a mere 10 miles apart along Highway 15-501.  

Duke University is also a private university, alternatively, Carolina is a public school, and so the different funding structures and the different cultures between these two enhance the intensity of the rivalry.  

That being said, one of the primary reasons that this rivalry is so hot is due to their basketball programs, as all true rivalry comes out in sports!  

Nearly every single year at least one of these Universities will end up contending to win the National Championship. At the moment of writing, Carolina is leading the rivalry by a massive 143-117.  

Basketball Rivalry  

Both Duke and North Carolina played their very first basketball game on the same day in January back in 1920, which makes the rivalry over 100 years old. Since the teams have also met at least 2 times per year since this, this means that these rivals have faced off a minimum of 200 times overall!  

The games often will determine who is the ACC champion, or this has at least been the case since the ACC was founded in 1953. Both of these two teams have a combined winning 49 ACC titles, and 38 tournament titles.  

The final game of their regular season for both of the schools alternates between Durham and Chapel Hill and this has been played in Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1940 and the Dean E. Smith Center since ‘86.  

The rivalry is as intense as it is thanks to these two Universities always being among the most elite men’s college basketball teams for 40 years or so. Both of these schools are two of the most successful in the NCAAB, with Carolina being 3rd for all-time winningest in the history of Division 1, and Duke being 4th.  

Combined, these two Universities have had 11 National Championships over 26 years, with them having captured around 28% of the National Championships altogether. Over 18 years, 1 of these 2 has been AP pre-season number 1 ranked in the country 8 times over.  

However, since the 77-78 season, either one of these teams has been pre-season in the top 3, 28 taps, which is an insane 70% of the time!  

While the longevity of their existence is a clear reason for their rivalry's intensity, the geographical closeness of these two educational institutions and their success is also a large factor in how intense their beef is.  

History Of The Rivalry 

The two teams first started playing off against one another over 100 years ago, however, their rivalry has anything but dwindled in that time. However, it became very intense in the 1959-1960 season, during which there was a brawl between Heyman and Krause.  

However, the year after this, in 1961, a game kicked off and a brawl occurred, started by Heyman, and Larry Brown from Carolina, which led to both players being suspended.  

Things have not changed much since, and while there have been incidents like this since, there has not been anything quite so aggressive in some time.  

That being said, there has been much tension when it comes to games won, and scores.  

2017 saw UNC win their 6th National title, and the rivalry has been in their favor ever since, which has made Duke a bit sour. UNC even swept Duke 2-0 back in 2021, and in 2022, they defeated Duke again in the final home game of Coach K.  

So, this year the latest NCAA basketball betting odds will be interesting for sure!  


This rivalry has been one that has inspired quite a bit of tension, and it is a long-aged rivalry that has seen brawls, ups, downs and a fair share of chaos that we are sure to see more of in years to come.